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An English rose in Georgia
From a dog's perspective
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Since she (the English rose in Georgia) is busy with the holidays this week, I thought as the senior dog in our household, I would tell the tale of how my daughter Star, a 10-year-old white Labrador, Daisy, a 6-year0old bearded collie, and myself, a 12-year-old black Labrador, came to move from London, England, to Richmond Hill and how we have been joined by a little American west highland terrier puppy, Dexter.
Actually, I think she is just too lazy to write a column and is in the kitchen even more than usual – although why we dogs can’t also have bigger meals at Christmas I don’t know.
So way back in 2009, she started taking us to the veterinarian even more than normal for injections and blood tests, which I actually don’t mind so much, as long as we get a treat afterward. She was talking about rabies vaccinations (we don’t have rabies in England) and she also wanted to get us pet passports (I do look very handsome in my photo) in case we needed to go back to England as SHE would not dream of leaving us in quarantine for 6 months if we did return. By the way, now SHE says that she loves living in America so why we needed passports I don’t know.
Anyway then she started packing up all the furniture and belongings – even our beds and toys – the final indignity. Now, I don’t mind telling you that this threw me, but I had to set an example to Star and Daisy, so I stayed calm. At least she kept the food unpacked so that helped some, though Daisy said she was too nervous to eat a thing. But it’s OK, I helped her out.
Then they took us to a strange kennel and stripped us of our collars and left us there overnight. The kennel girl at our usual place knew to give me extra treats – but this one didn’t. Then the next morning we went in these huge crates and onto a plane – without any breakfast!
But at least we had water in there, and it was quite warm and spacious and I slept for hours. She said our area was roomier and more expensive than her seat on the airplane. Anyway, after a lot of noisy places and people at customs at the airport, we went to a kennel in Atlanta and finally got a proper meal.
Then\ it was back in the crates for a long drive to what I now know is our home in Richmond Hill. My goodness, it was hot and humid, but when I saw what we had there – our very own pool – I jumped right in. But I was dragged out only to be carried off to a new vet for a checkup and heartworm tablets, which is something I didn’t need in England. But all of this was OK since they were kind and gave us treats.
Well, back at home they unpacked our beds and we went to sleep early. But we woke up absolutely starving, so we barked. But she said it was only 2 a.m. and there was a five hour time difference, so we would have to wait until 7 a.m. for our breakfast. They laughed as they talked about doggie jet lag. But jet lagged or not, I didn’t care – I am a Labrador and I was hungry and wanted breakfast! Unfortunately, this went on for several days.
So that was our journey here. But reflecting on the last 18 months, I would say from a canine perspective, the move has been a good thing. The walks are great even though it gets too hot in the summer for my taste. But we have the air conditioning and pool, and the climate is much better for my old arthritic bones than the wet and cold British weather.
Also, I have heard it said in the U.S. that British food is not very good, but I think the American dog food is about the same – although I would still like bigger portions – but what can you do? However, there is a whole new “Georgia buffet” out there – dead frogs, snakes, possums – it is just great for a scavenging and an always-hungry Labrador.
And the new member of our pack – the small American puppy. He barks with a funny accent, but he is a great little chap and I am showing him the ropes. Together, we have discovered a uniquely male delight to living in the U.S. – fire hydrants!
God Bless America! Arf!
Lesley Francis moved to Richmond Hill from England in 2009. She can be contacted at or via

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